January 5, 1932 – Ted Dreier letters – Black Mountain College archives

January 5, 1932 – Ted Dreier Letters – 1932 (Transcribed January 5, 2017 (Box 22, Folder 1932))

Lake Mizell

Winter Park, Florida

                                                                                                            Jan. 5, 1932

Dear father,

Your good letter to me of the 2nd came today, as well as one for Barbara. We were very glad to hear all the news, and wish we could have been with you.

I certainly do remember those hunts we used to go on. I remember particularly one New Years that was quite cold, and my feet got so cold and stayed that way so long that I hardly knew what to do – they seemed to stay in that painful region between numbness and just cold for ages. I remember finally we had to wait for a long time while the hounds were doing something, I didn’t care what, and we just stood still in the sun for over a half an hour, and I got all warm again. That certainly felt wonderful. I remember Nan was along that day, but I don’t think it was the time she got lost, though I’m not sure. I hardly remember that, though I have a vague recollection that I saw her in somebody else’s company and was not worried about her. Perhaps I was just cold and didn’t care. I really used to be a selfish little brat in those days.

I also remember our getting up at 4 and 5 o’clock on cold mornings (on New Year’s it would be much later) – you would come and wake me. I remember I used to think that I was quite the early-bird of the family until we started going on those hunts. I could hardly bear to get out of bed on those cold dark mornings, and I decided that first honors belonged to you after all, because you didn’t seem to mind. I also remember so plainly going down to those quick-lunch places near the Long Island depot and eating oatmeal and rolls and milk. I had never eaten in that sort of place before. I enjoyed the riding a bit, too, when I wasn’t too cold or too scared about the jumps. I don’t think I let on much that I was worried about that, but I used to be awfully. Of course, it was always thrilling when it went successfully, as it nearly always did.

I wouldn’t have missed all of that for anything, now. I only wish that I’d put my head into it more and really learned all about horses and hunting. You know I never really used to put my heart into anything – I’d do things well enough to get by, and got by fairly well, but I never really put my heart into anything – not even by the time I had gotten to Schenectady – I was always pre-occupied with my own feelings and just wanted to brood.

And now, pretty much within the last year, I feel as if that had pretty definitely changed, and I get interested in things in a way that I never used to before. It just makes it wonderful to be alive, – at least compared with the old way. I want to stay here for another year or two now, I feel that it is so worthwhile. If I turn to something else later, I know it will be with a great deal more confidence and likelihood of success than I had before.

Do you remember the day I first rode Jimmie at Westbury, and he ran away? You were on Gus Helen. I never forgot that wild gallop – it was a Sunday, and all the people were coming out of church. Jimmie was the one that I rode with only a blanket all one summer, too. It’s a great feeling now to have a sense of confidence about horses. I feel as though I know how to ride pretty well, and wouldn’t be afraid to try any horse.

I didn’t have a chance to talk with Uncle Raymond alone at all while I was at Chinsegut. He told all of us about the bank one day at dinner, and was much elated by it at the time.

His speech in Brooksville was on Disarmament and the Economic Situation. A good deal of it was from his speeches on the necessity of outlawing war, and as I remember it he only spoke of the economic situation in so far as it was a consequence of the war and the war system. He spoke very effectively and stirringly.

In a postscript he challenged the people of Brooksville to so something about their own rotten gang situation. You know, there was another appalling murder committed right in front of the hotel on main street this last fall, and nothing at all has been done about it. It is suspected that the sheriff ordered it done. The man murdered was a fine lawyer who was trying to bring the sheriff to trial for the man he (the sheriff) had shot last spring for no real reason that anybody can see, tho’ it was supposed to be in self-defense. The murdered man was also president of the local American Legion. Uncle Raymond fairly shook as he talked about what this event meant in Brooksville and received tremendous applause from a packed house. I thought he was looking well, in spite of his tremendous speaking campaign.

I am sorry to hear that your income has been cut so much and that so many other things are down. Even if one sold some things, I suppose one would hardly know what to do with the money except put it in savings banks, and then one’s income would be cut still more. That would be better than having it all disappear, though, wouldn’t it?

I wish the reparations and debt question would be settled once and for all. I don’t think they are the cause of our trouble, but they greatly aggravate it, and I don’t believe that we will get at the real problem until the air is cleared of that difficulty. I think keeping those allied debts on our books is not much more sensible than it would be to keep expecting Russia to pay her old debts to us. Maybe they ought to pay, but they are not going to, and making a hell of a row about it isn’t going to help.

If another temporary settlement of the reparations problem is made and if the disarmament conference in Geneva fails, I think it will be a pretty clear sign that we have not been hurt badly enough yet to do the things that really have to be done. I don’t believe Congress will have the guts to vote the necessary taxes. Large Taxes may hinder business, but that’s not the main trouble. Too few taxes will really hurt business still more, if the government’s credit is not maintained, and if government securities fall still lower.

We have started another term here, and the warm weather continues, tho’ we had 2 cold nights when it went down to 50.

I hope this letter isn’t too long for you. Good luck and much love from Theo.